When Mayra Castanon decided to go to nursing school, she had her choice of schools with nursing programs.
Castanon, 18, is a freshman at Oklahoma State University — Oklahoma City. The university was the most convenient option because it's close to her home. But there was another factor that helped her make the decision, as well, she said.
“It was cheap,” she said. “It was really cheap.”
OSU-Oklahoma City offers among the nation's lowest tuition, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education.
When she graduates, Castanon hopes to pursue a medical career in the Oklahoma City area, she said. Although she considered other schools, she eventually chose OSU-Oklahoma City because of price and convenience, she said.
According to the department's College Affordability and Transparency Center, OSU-Oklahoma City had the 20th-lowest rate for tuition and fees among four-year public colleges and universities during the 2011-12 academic year, the most recent year the data lists.
Although OSU-Oklahoma City primarily offers two-year degrees or lower, the university also offers a bachelor's degree in emergency responder training. The university's tuition and fees came to $2,559 for 30 credit hours during that academic year.
The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma also fell into the bottom 10 percent in terms of tuition and fee costs nationwide. USAO students paid $3,744 in tuition and fees for 30 hours during the 2011-12 academic year.
Both universities have seen their tuition rates climb since then. In the fall, in-state students at OSU-Oklahoma City will see a tuition and fee rate of $3,310 for 30 credit hours in lower-division courses and $4,045 for 30 credit hours in upper-division courses. That rate represents no increase over last year's rate.
During the upcoming academic year, USAO students will see a tuition and fee rate of $5,790 for 30 credit hours. That represents a 7.2 percent increase over last year.
Four of Oklahoma's public schools also appeared among the bottom 10 percent in terms of net price, which is an estimate of what an average student might expect to pay for tuition and fees after financial aid is taken into account.